Volunteer Newsletter

Volunteer Newsletter

We are gearing up for a busy summer at Audubon! Scroll down to find ways in which you can get involved, information on citizen science programs, updates and other volunteering news! (Pictured Above: 2017 Volunteer Luncheon Attendees).

Volunteer Opportunities
Internship Opportunities
Volunteers in the News
Volunteer of the Season (Spring 2017)
Osprey Monitoring Update
RI Butterfly Count

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers at Work

Animal Care: Are you eager to work with animals? Spend 2 to 4 hours a week at Powder Mill Ledges in Smithfield caring for the amphibians and reptiles used in our education programs.

Summer Camp Support: Audubon offers extended camp hours at the Environmental Education Center in Bristol. Help our counselors and staff by assisting with activities before camp begins in the morning or after camp ends in the afternoon. Lunchtime shifts are also available. Pick a schedule that works for you!

Raptor Weekend Social Media Support: Help get the word out and attract volunteers to Audubon’s largest annual event using your social media skills. This project can be based from either Audubon Headquarters in Smithfield or the Environmental Education Center in Bristol.

Wildlife Refuge Support – Gardening: Audubon is committed to supporting the health of local pollinator species - our gardens are designed with native plants that attract these important insects and birds. Come put your green thumb to good use and support the local pollinator population by helping to maintain these beautiful and valuable gardens.

Visit our Volunteer Opportunities webpage to learn about other opportunities, or contact Jon Scoones at

Fill out a Volunteer Application here!

Internship Opportunities

Audubon is currently accepting applications for internships in the following areas:

MarketingDevelopment Conservation

To learn more about these rewarding opportunities, click the links above.

Fill out an Internship Application here!

Volunteers in the News: Patricia Jablonowski

This month, Audubon volunteer Pat Jablonowski was in the news! She was profiled in The Masthead, a newspaper produced by the North Farm community in Bristol where she resides. Pat volunteers at the Audubon Environmental Education Center – a committed volunteer that Audubon can truly count on! Pat started with Audubon by training to become a naturalist in the Exhibit Hall. She now helps the education staff with the Lil' Peeps classes for young children, other environmental programs, and so much more!
To learn more about Pat and her volunteer role at Audubon, click on this link to the recent Masthead article.

Jim Wesner: Audubon Volunteer

Volunteer of the Season: Jim Wesner- Spring 2017

So many of you donate valuable time and skills to Audubon that it is never easy to highlight just one volunteer! But sometimes special recognition is due – for a unique project, hours served, or dedication to Audubon’s mission.

This spring we would like to recognize Jim Wesner as our Volunteer of the Season. Jim, a retiree from Raytheon, has volunteered five hours a week with the Audubon Society of Rhode Island for the past seven years. He is so reliable that staff automatically know what day of the week it is when he walks in the office!
Jim has volunteered over 2,000 hours to Audubon. Although you might find him helping at the Nature Shop during special events, his expertise is creating and maintaining the databases that track vital information from Osprey Nests across Rhode Island to education classes and public programs.

Jim supports the backbone of the organization and truly helps Audubon staff to connect people with nature.

Program Updates

Osprey Monitoring

Osprey -  Ross Gardner

The Osprey Monitoring Program has been organized by Audubon volunteers since 2010. Prior to that, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) handled the project, which they initiated in 1977. It is the longest running Osprey Monitoring program in New England, and possibly the country. (But we haven't really investigated that yet...)

Each year nearly 100 volunteers sign up to monitor approximately 260 Osprey nests across Rhode Island. These monitors are trained and given the appropriate tools to perform their mission: watching closely and reporting on the breeding success of each nest they are assigned.

The administrative portion of the program is web-based, monitors may conveniently submit their data from any location that has a computer and Wi-Fi. In addition, the website provides additional training information, links to other useful and informational sites, a blog, and of course many impressive photos of Osprey!
Monitors collectively spend over 1,250 hours in the field and submit over 2,000 observations during their time monitoring nests. Without these volunteer monitors, we would not be able to continue tracking the population of Osprey in Rhode Island. As nature's sentinels, Ospreys are important indicators regarding the health of our water-related habitats: ponds, rivers, marshes, bay and the ocean.

To learn more about the program and about the Osprey in Rhode Island, visit

Rhode Island Butterfly Count

This year marks Audubon's 13th annual Rhode Island Butterfly Count. Each year volunteers from across the state hike the fields and open spaces of Rhode Island, documenting the butterflies that they observe.
There are two ways to participate in this important citizen science program:
White Hairstreak by Angela Morrison

1) Public Counts: Register to join an established count hosted by Audubon. No experience is necessary! These counts are held in specific locations across the state on two different dates (June 24 and July 22.) Audubon naturalists will educate the team about butterflies and how to identify them before leading a group into the field to begin searching and counting these beautiful insects. Here are the locations:

EAST BAY - June 24, 2017 from 10:00 am - noon
Audubon Environmental Education Center, Bristol
Audubon's Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge, Warren
Nockum Hill, Barrington
Prudence Island

WEST BAY- July 22, 2017 from 10 am - noon
Audubon Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, Smithfield
Audubon Newman Wildlife Refuge, N. Smithfield
Audubon Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge, Exeter
Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Charlestown

2) Private Counts: If you are able to identify common butterflies found in Rhode Island, please consider heading out on your own butterfly count and document your observations. Audubon provides forms, training videos and tips. We ask that you photograph the butterflies you observe whenever possible, and send the images to us. This helps to confirm your observations and documents rare sightings. These counts should be done on the weekends of June 24th or July 22nd. To learn more about the Butterfly Count and view a list of areas that need volunteers, please follow this link:

All the data from the butterfly observations will be compiled and published in the 2017 Annual Rhode Island Butterfly Count Report.

Volunteer Feedback

We are dedicated to making our volunteer program fun, educational and meaningful. We look to you for suggestions and feedback! Please email Jon Scoones with your thoughts at

How to Contact Us

Jon Scoones, Director of Volunteer Services, can be reached by email at or by phone at (401) 949-5454 ex. 3044.

You can sign up for our Volunteer newsletter here!

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